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Germany and Oktoberfest Planning

I am planning a trip to Germany from 9/17/11 to 10/1/11 and need a bit of guidance. This will be my third trip to Germany and my wife's first. As of now, I am planning on flying to Berlin from Austin for a few nights, then staying a few nights in both Nurenberg and Bamberg (I am a big beer fan, so this is a must for me) before making my way to Munich for Oktoberfest. Where I am having problems is when to time my stay in Munich. I want to be there during the week, as to avoid what I hear is a crazy amount of people there on the weekend. So, If I stay a few nights during the week in Munich, any suggestions for where to stay for the last few days before I leave? I was thinking about possibly Innsbruck or Salzberg as I have never been to Austria. I am however running into a problem, as it seems that Continental doesn't fly to Austin from either of those cities. Should I suck it up an find another carrier, or would it make any sence to go back to Munich to fly home? I guess I need a little help to see if this itenary is practical and fun for a two week trip. Any suggestions would be most appreciated.

Posted by
12040 posts

This is second-hand information, so take it for what it's worth... Friends who have visited Munich during Oktoberfest report that the city itself doesn't feel that crowded (it is a large city, after all, and is always somewhat "crowded"), but the Oktoberfest fairgrounds are mobbed. Also, lodgings fill up early and many restaurants can be packed in the evening. But not a whole lot is noticable in the city itself.

Posted by
8681 posts

We went to Oktoberfest last year. We went on a Wednesday afternoon. I can't imagine going on a weekend! :-) Tom is correct that besides the fairgrounds Munich did not feel that crowded. Well...the train station was pretty crowded, but how much time would you spend there?!? Salzburg is fantastic and I think that is a great place to go. If you can't work it out transportation wise to fly home from there it would not be that big of a deal to go back to Munich to fly home.

Posted by
1357 posts

Salzburg is a great little town and an easy train trip from Munich. It wouldn't be a problem getting back to Munich to get your flight back, either.

Posted by
342 posts

I would second the suggestion of Salzburg. It is only about 1-1/2 hours by train from Munich and trains run frequently. Depending on your flight time back to the U.S., you could leave from Salzburg and when you get to Munich get directly on the S-Bahn to the airport. If your train from Salzburg terminates at Munich's main station (Hauptbahnhof), you just go down a few flights of stairs (or escalator) to the S-Bahn (follow the signs "Flughafen" with the pictogram of an airplane). If your train from Salzburg passes through Ostbahnhof, the S-Bahn to the airport stops at this station - again the destination board on the train will say Flughafen. There are two S-Bahn lines from Munich to the airport - S-8 and S-1. The journey takes about 45 minutes.

Posted by
813 posts

Salzburg is infinitely more interesting than Innsbruck, plus more easily accessible from Munich by train and car. As far as hotels, pretty much anywhere that has a room away from the immediate vicinity of the fest is good.

Posted by
11798 posts

Salzburg is one of the most beautiful little cities anywhere, lots of worthwhile sites plus more beer at the Augustiner. Innsbruck is just okay. I really liked being in Munich on opening day. A parade starts downtown. People are dressed up in their best (and really pricey) traditional dress. The biggest surprise for me wasn't the crowd, it was how early they close - it's all empty by 10:30.

Posted by
8 posts

Thanks everyone for the input, it looks like I will add Salzberg to my trip. Does anyone have any input on Berlin-Bamberg-Nurenberg-Munich-Salzberg? Any suggestions on how many days out of two weeks to stay in each?

Posted by
18237 posts

By the way, spell Salzburg correctly or you might have trouble getting the right information. There are towns in Germany called Salzberg. I flew into Munich on the final Thursday of Oktoberfest, 2007, and took the S-Bahn in from the airport to the Hauptbahnhof. The Hbf was busy, but it's always busy. I had no problem changing to a train to Oberammergau. If you are coming from Salzburg, most trains stop at the Ostbahnhof (east station) coming into Munich and you could catch the S-8 to the airport from there and avoid the Hbf.

Posted by
4370 posts

"I am a big beer fan..." So you must stay in Salzburg and go to Augustiner... 8^D
My first time at Oktoberfest we actually stayed in Salzburg, so it's not a big deal. Unless something has changed very recently, there's a Deutsche Bahn ticket counter (and ticket machines) at the Salzburg train station, so you and your wife can travel on a Lander ticket...which can also be used to get to Andechs (do you REALLY like your beer?!?). What time might your flight home (from Munich?) be? You may, or may not, need to stay near the airport that last night. Of course, all of this oh-so-helpful advice is retracted unless you're wearing Aggie Maroon...Gig 'em Aggies!

Posted by
18237 posts

Hint: If you can find a DB ticket machine in Salzburg, use it rather than a ticket counter. Bayern (Länder) tickets are €29 from the automat, €31 at the counter.

Posted by
8 posts

Lee, thanks for the tips, and you're right, I might get more help and seem less stupid if I spell things correctly. Eileen, Augustiner and Andechs are on the list of things to do. However, my thirst for good beer is limited by my wife's concern for my liver. While I am not an Aggie, my wife is, so I hope that is good enough.

Posted by
4370 posts

Whoop! As long as you're not a you-know-what...;-) Tell her 'Howdy, Dammit!' for me. The good thing about Andechs is it's a 45m ride from Munich Hbf...you can drink lots of water after your 2 (-ish ?!?) liters at Oktoberfest...grab some food at the train station before heading to Herrsching/Andechs. I'm sure your wife's a Good Ag, so she'll see the wisdom in what I say LOL! (aka 'Good Bull') Be aware that Augustiner in Salzburg doesn't open until 2:30 or 3:00...and it's NOT the Munich Augustiner (which is also rather tasty). If you don't want to hike through the woods (but with city views) all the way from the fortress to Augustiner, then take the elevator up instead...it's a neat way to approach the monastery - like you're on a pilgrimage. 'Cause you are ;-)

Posted by
27440 posts

Both Augustiner and Andechs are very good fun even if you are in liver recovery mode...

Posted by
11798 posts

What do you call an Aggie with 25 girlfriends? A shepherd. Sorry, I couldn't resist. :)

Posted by
27440 posts

A guy from California was flying his hang-glider over a field occupied by 2 Aggies. "What was that bird?" says one to the other. "Don't know", said the other Aggie. "But did you see how fast it let go of that guy when I shot it?"

Posted by
25 posts

Hi Jason, For your beer pilgrimage may I suggest a trip to Freising to visit Weihenstephan... the oldest brewery in the world and one of my favorites. Started in 1040... I'm looking forward to their 1000th anniversary... hope my liver can make it that far. My husband and I are headed back to Munich for our 3rd pilgrimage and I wouldn't do it without my favorite travel guide (aside from Rick, of course): The Beer Drinker's Guide to Munich http://www.beerdrinkersguide.com/BDGWebsite/GardensIndex.htm Prost! -Libby ps: the Cannstatter VolkFest in Stuttgart is happening at the same time as Oktoberfest... it's a little smaller, a little cozier and just as much fun =) http://www.cannstatter-volksfest.de/index.php?id=39&L=1

Posted by
8 posts

Thanks for the comedy people, now I have to clean off the white out that my wife put on the computer screen to delete the Aggie jokes. Libby, I love the suggestions. My only challenge is to balance the brewery/beer aspect of the trip with some more culture. If given the choice of Weihenstephan VS Andechs what would most people choose? Does two nights in Bamberg and two nights in Nuremberg sound about right?

Posted by
4370 posts

Brad, Nigel, Jason...(shaking head) Now you've gone and gotten yourselves on my list... And I LIKED you. There were three Aggies huddled around each other at a local bar. All of a sudden, they jumped up and yelled, "Yeah, 45! 45!" The bartender goes down to them and asks, "45? What are you guys so excited about?" One of the Aggies speaks up: "We just finished a jigsaw puzzle. The box said 2 to 3 years, and we did it in 45 days!" What do you call a female Aggie who takes birth control pills? A humanitarian. (you're welcome)

Posted by
25 posts

Jason, Tough call on Weihenstephan vs Andechs... I love them both. how to decide. Weihenstephan has the longevity and history of beer (as well as the future with it's Brewing School) but Andechs has more of a 'destination complex'... there's the church and several biergartens as well as a gift shop. Heads up w/ Andechs... before you go, be sure and check the bus schedule from the Sbahn station... when i was there the bussed didn't run between about 11:30 and 1 so we had to take a cab... and be sure and check the return schedule as well. We always walk to Weihenstephan because Freising is lovely. Beer/brewery vs Culture???? Beer IS culture in Bavaria. You can't get more cultural than spending a day in a biergarten! Museum, Schmuseaum! Give me the Victualienmarkt and the Chineseischer Turm and I'll show you culture. But if you REALLY need a museum there's always the Bier und Oktoberfest Museum ;)
Prost!

Posted by
4370 posts

Jason, not that I'm talking to you or anything, but I'd pick Andechs. AND you can really freak out your wife when you start drinking their schnapps...

Posted by
8 posts

Eileen, I am going to cheer extra loud for the Aggies today, to make it up to you. I will also yell,"Gig 'em" to everyone wearing burnt orange. Libby, thanks for the information. I really think I am going to check out Andechs, I have been swayed. James, since I am planning on a trip to Salzburg, I think I will check out Augustiner despite the review. Any better suggestion for Salzburg? As for Schlenkerla, I will see what I think about the beer and if I don't like it, it seems that there are many other local breweries near by. Any favorites? I have been to Hofbrau several times, and have really enjoyed it. Having said that, I always have a bit of regret that I didn't go to a less touristy place.
You have piqued my interest with your reccomendation of Erdinger. It would be hard to top your review.

Posted by
4370 posts

Jason, thanks anyway. Stupid Florida people shouldn't be playing basketball...8^# I was impressed with your Bamburg visit; I just don't dig no rauchbier...or Scotch smoked ales... James, methinks you need another trip to Salzburg...it's so nice and breezy there that us non-smokers CAN sit with the 'fun' smokers!!! Plus, 3 gallons of beer make me kinda forget about second-hand smoke ;-) Seriously, try again. And the Erdinger field trip sounds, umm, interesting - all-you-can-drink...Can you bring in a picnic?!? Maybe find a place to put a bedroll?!? Just wonderin'... Sorry about the dearth of info on the other questions, Jason. I can't help with them; I just drink.

Posted by
25 posts

Hi again, Jason. I agree with Eileen - in Salzburg the Augustiner is very worthy! Just watch Rick's Salzburg episode to get a glimpse. I think the food stalls are great - best potato salad EVER at the very far end. Other options in Salzburg (all on the Monchburg - from east to west) include the Stiegl Keller (between the cathedral and fortress) great view & great beer. The StadtAlm (it was closed when I attempted a visit in 2008... I'll be trying again in May) and M32 - best view in town, not cheap but amazing. Have you gotten your Oktoberfest accommodations squared away? we used VRBO.com and found http://www.hubmann.net/english.htm - close to the Ubahn and easy to get everywhere. Prost!
-L

Posted by
4370 posts

(ummm, Jason, if you could NOT cheer the women of Texas A&M on tomorrow, I'd appreciate it. It wasn't very helpful with the men's team last week...Woo-hoo, Ladies - ranked #2!!!) Back to the regularly-scheduled programming...